Red Record Essay

2232 words - 9 pages

"A Red Record" Ida B. Wells wrote vivid accounts in the pamphlet "A Red Record" about the harsh realities in the American racial system regarding the lynch detestation that was generally practiced against blacks in the South. Blacks in the South in the nineteenth century faced lose-lose situations. If white woman accused a black man of assault, attempted or not, he would be convicted and hanged. Little evidence could be given, yet over one thousand blacks were hanged under Lynch Laws. In Ida B. Wells' lynch pamphlet, "A Red Record" displayed the brutal events from enraged mobs that were inflicted on blacks, mostly violence against white women. In order to protect "their wives and daughters", white men would capture, beat, hang, mutilate and then burned blacks in order to send a message to blacks to not even attempt to look at the white women (Wells 129). The conditions the blacks faced in comparison to whites were as different as night and day. The actions of the political figures, policemen, and mob leaders reflected the ultimate goal of the Deep South, to maintain "white supremacy". Ida B. Wells knew that lynchings in the South were being overlooked and decided to take action. Lynchings were considered a normal form of punishment when black people were arrested. Wells knew that if white Southerners, revealed the truth of the lynchings in the South, they would admit that blacks, especially men, were being lynched for almost any offense. These offenses ranged from murder to misdemeanors, or even for no offense at all (Wells 78). The beliefs of the Southern white men were that it was impossible for a relationship to exist between white women and colored men. Nevertheless, white women continued to slander the claim of rape from black men in order to cover up their adultery (Wells 117). Even when the white women admitted that the relationships between them and their black lovers were voluntary, anger still suppressed mobs and in one way or another, someone was going to be lynched, primarily a black man. Other accounts of violence that Wells discussed in the pamphlets were the allegations of rape, suspected murder, insults to whites, alleged well poisoning and self-defense, just to name a few. Recorded for the year of 1892, approximately only one-third of the victims lynched for these crimes were convicted, yet angry mobs took matters into their own hands (Wells 87). Blacks were even being lynched because of their family member's crimes. For example, William Butler was killed in Texas for the alleged crime of his stepfather, Henry Smith, for the crime of killing a four-year old child named Myrtle Vance. Although Butler didn't know the whereabouts of Smith, the mob decided that it would be proper to kill the stepson, as partial punishment, even though they captured Smith and hung him, then filled his body with bullets (Wells 100). Inhumane acts, such as this, were very active and part of the Christian white system of justice. Lynch Laws...

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